Newly released footage sheds more light on the fatal police shooting of Patrick Lyoya.
The deadly encounter occurred during an April 4 traffic stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after an officer stopped the 26-year-old Black man over a license plate issue. On Wednesday, the Grand Rapids Police Department released body camera, dashcam, cell phone, and home surveillance video that captured tragic incident. Authorities said the audio was not edited, but some of the images were redacted due to privacy concerns.
The dashcam footage begins with the officer pulling Lyoya over in a residential area. Lyoya parks his car and exits with a seemingly confused look on his face. According to CNN, the officer orders him to get back in the vehicle. The officer then explains the issue over his license plate tags, and asks Lyoya if he speaks English. The man answers in the affirmative before opening his car door. Video then shows the men speaking for a few moments before Lyoya takes a few steps to the side. The officer attempts to stop Lyoya from moving and place him on the hood of the car.
A struggle immediately ensues, and Lyoya is seen making a run for it, before he is apprehended in a nearby front yard. The officer reportedly drew his taser, and was heard yelling “Stop resisting. Let go of the taser!” Lyoya is then pushed face down to the ground, before the officer pulls out his gun and shoots Lyoya in the head.
“There was a lengthy struggle, I’m told it was over a minute and a half or two minutes of fighting,” Police Chief Eric Winstrom said. “During the struggle, the officer’s weapon discharged, killing the man.”
Winstrom said the struggle lasted for less than 2 minutes; during that time the officer fired his taser twice into the ground. The chief also explained that Lyoya apparently hit the officer’s body cam several times during the struggle; at one point, the camera was allegedly held down for three seconds, causing it to deactivate.
“What we’ve seen in examining the information is that it was hit many times during that struggle,” Winstrom said, as reported by the Detroit News.
The GRPD said it will not release the officer’s name unless there are criminal charges filed. The officer, who joined the force in 2015, is now on paid leave pending the outcome of a state investigation.
“This is a use of deadly force. The test for deadly force is that the officer is entitled to use deadly force when defending himself against a reasonable threat of death or great bodily harm,” Winstrom said. “That’ll be the test the Michigan State Police use when they look at it initially. And that’ll be the same test I use to review it after their investigation is handed off to us.”